The Polidays, Part III–In which the women have a tete a tetePosted: January 5, 2015
I was questioning everything about our relationship. I knew I wanted to be with him and that we would work it out, but I had basically decided, after our tearful phone call, that I was going to accept my place as a secondary. It was the only way I could handle continually having lesser priority.It didn’t matter what they said about not believing in hierarchies–the fact was that The Wifey came first. I could handle that if no one tried to convince me otherwise. (I try to check in with the Hubby often, and make sure I am being fair to him, but he needs so much time on his own that I am pretty much free to do as I please once the kids are in bed–and our work hours are such that we have several hours together each day anyway).
When I woke the morning after our fight and saw a message from The Wifey in my inbox, I groaned. I quickly scanned it,and seeing that it was long, went and fixed myself a cup of coffee to drink while I was reading. I slowly perused it, taking my time. I read it through once, then again. I poured another coffee and picked my Hubby’s brain for perspective.
Her letter said that she has tried to stay out of my relationship with Papa Bear, but it has become impossible to ignore the fact that there are some things we need to clear up. She told me that she is glad I am in Papa Bear’s life, and wants our relationship to thrive. Then she said that he wants nothing more than to bring happiness to the people he loves, and I haven’t been letting him. She said I need to accept the time that I am offered, and not press for more. That Papa Bear loves me, but he had friends and responsibilities and work and a life before me, and that I cannot expect him to give that up. She said that he fills his time with me whenever he is able, texts me when we are apart, and thinks of me always, and that I need to trust that he loves me be happy with that. That he needs time alone to recharge, and take care of himself, and he can’t do that if I am always spiriting him away (my words).
Then she addressed New Years Eve. She said they had both bent over backwards to make the night work the way I wanted to, but unfortunately it didn’t pan out. And that her feelings were just as valid as mine, and she wishes I would not throw a huge fit over one night, because it is hurting Papa Bear deeply and hurting her as well.
There is more, but I can’t recount the paragraphs and paragraphs here. The general gist is that, Papa Bear loves me, I am too demanding and make his life difficult, and her opinions matter too.
I thought about it, and turned her words over and over in my head, before I responded.
I was kind and honest and open, but I did not hold back. I told her that this was not just about New Years–it was about so much more than that. I told her that we obviously have a ways to go, if being around Papa Bear and I makes her so uncomfortable that she’d stop us from having New Years Eve together. I told her I was tired of being uninvited from things if one of her dates cancelled, because she can’t handle not having one man doting on her and only her all night. I told her that I NEVER press for more time with Papa Bear–and it is true. He sets our dates. He sets the times. I know she feels that we spend too much time together, but I am only with him when he requests me to be. The only time I have ever complained about wanting more, is when he’s made plans with me and then cancelled or changed them, not because something important came up, but because The Wifey found some chore or errand for him to do and he couldn’t just say “No, I’m busy.”
I told her that I have never before met anyone whose entire social life revolves around their spouse never being even slightly inconvenienced–I cited the time when we couldn’t go look at Christmas lights, because Papa Bear had to get home and put sheets on the bed so the Wifey wouldn’t have to make it herself. I told her that its clear that his entire universe revolves around her, and that it hurts me that if she and I have differing preferences, he will do what she wants, regardless of what he has promised me, and that that is at the root of the problems we have been having. Then I told her that I had asked him not to even suggest a date idea with me until he had talked to her first, so that I wouldn’t be disappointed, and to put self-care (doing projects in his workshop, going to the gym, reading a book, or hanging out with friends) on the calendar, so that it would also be a priority and he wouldn’t burn out.
I told her that I love and appreciate her, and that we would work through this, but that I think we all need to accept the fact that I am a secondary and not kid ourselves into thinking we have equality, when we obviously do not.
The Wifey replied that, in reading my letter, it had become clear to her that most of the issues stem around a lack of communication, and inadequate time management on Papa Bear’s part. She asked me to be patient with him and give him grace as he works through that, and said she would try to do the same. We made plans to get coffee sometime soon.
Papa Bear texted me first thing in the morning when he woke up, and I told him about the conversation Wifey and I had had. He said he was sad. That he wanted things to be good, but he’d made mistakes and messed up. I told him that it was okay–that life is messy, and that we would figure it out. Then I told him that I am now self-identifying as a secondary.
He said he understood, but that that would change once he had a talk with the Wifey and told her what he really wanted.
I felt a spark of hope, that maybe we could find a way to make what we feel for one another translate into how we live our lives.
(Stay tuned for Part IV.)